$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!
European Union - POLSKA УКРАЇНА

France to Adopt International Definition of Anti-Semitism

The French government will adopt an international organization’s definition of anti-Semitism and propose a law to reduce hate speech from being circulated online, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday.

Macron, speaking at the annual dinner of a Jewish organization, said France and other parts of Europe have seen in recent years “a resurgence of anti-Semitism that is probably unprecedented since World War II.”

Macron said applying the working definition of anti-Semitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance would help guide police forces, magistrates and teachers in their daily work.

Since the intergovernmental organization approved the wording in 2016, some critics of Israel have said it could be used suppress Palestinian rights activists. The definition states anti-Semitism can take the form of “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Macron said he thinks that view is correct.

“Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism,” the French leader said in Paris at the dinner of Jewish umbrella organization CRIF. “Behind the negation of Israel’s existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews.”

Macron mentioned anti-Semitism based on “radical Islamism” as a rampant ideology in France’s multi-ethnic, poor neighborhoods.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation at France’s adoption of the international definition of anti-Semitism, in a phone call with the French leader ahead of the speech, Netanyahu’s office said.

Social media

Macron also said his party would introduce legislation in parliament in May to force social media to withdraw hate speech posted online and use all available means to identify the authors “as quickly as possible.”

He especially denounced Twitter as waiting days, sometimes weeks, to remove hate content and to help authorities so a judicial investigation can be led. At the same time, he praised Facebook’s decision last year to allow the presence of French regulators inside the company to help improving practices combating online hate speech.

Anti-Semitism

Macron’s speech came a day after thousands of people attended rallies across France to decry an uptick in anti-Semitic acts in recent months. On Tuesday morning, about 80 gravestones spray-painted with swastikas were discovered in a cemetery in a small village of eastern France.

Macron observed a moment of silence Tuesday with parliament leaders at the Holocaust museum in Paris.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that a man has been arrested over a torrent of hate speech directed at Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut during a Saturday march by yellow vest protesters. The insults included words like “Zionist!” and “Go back to Tel Aviv!” and “We are France!”

The man was taken into custody Tuesday evening after a police inquiry was opened into a suspected public insult based on origin, ethnicity, nation, race or religion.

The government last week reported a rise in incidents of anti-Semitism last year: 541 registered incidents, up 74 percent from the 311 registered in 2017.

In other incidents this month, swastika graffiti was found on street portraits of Simone Veil, a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017, the word “Juden” was painted on the window of a bagel restaurant in Paris and two trees planted at a memorial honoring a young Jewish man tortured to death in 2006 were vandalized.

“That’s our failure,” Macron said. “The time has come to act.”

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

France to Adopt International Definition of Anti-Semitism

The French government will adopt an international organization’s definition of anti-Semitism and propose a law to reduce hate speech from being circulated online, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday.

Macron, speaking at the annual dinner of a Jewish organization, said France and other parts of Europe have seen in recent years “a resurgence of anti-Semitism that is probably unprecedented since World War II.”

Macron said applying the working definition of anti-Semitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance would help guide police forces, magistrates and teachers in their daily work.

Since the intergovernmental organization approved the wording in 2016, some critics of Israel have said it could be used suppress Palestinian rights activists. The definition states anti-Semitism can take the form of “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Macron said he thinks that view is correct.

“Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism,” the French leader said in Paris at the dinner of Jewish umbrella organization CRIF. “Behind the negation of Israel’s existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews.”

Macron mentioned anti-Semitism based on “radical Islamism” as a rampant ideology in France’s multi-ethnic, poor neighborhoods.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation at France’s adoption of the international definition of anti-Semitism, in a phone call with the French leader ahead of the speech, Netanyahu’s office said.

Social media

Macron also said his party would introduce legislation in parliament in May to force social media to withdraw hate speech posted online and use all available means to identify the authors “as quickly as possible.”

He especially denounced Twitter as waiting days, sometimes weeks, to remove hate content and to help authorities so a judicial investigation can be led. At the same time, he praised Facebook’s decision last year to allow the presence of French regulators inside the company to help improving practices combating online hate speech.

Anti-Semitism

Macron’s speech came a day after thousands of people attended rallies across France to decry an uptick in anti-Semitic acts in recent months. On Tuesday morning, about 80 gravestones spray-painted with swastikas were discovered in a cemetery in a small village of eastern France.

Macron observed a moment of silence Tuesday with parliament leaders at the Holocaust museum in Paris.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that a man has been arrested over a torrent of hate speech directed at Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut during a Saturday march by yellow vest protesters. The insults included words like “Zionist!” and “Go back to Tel Aviv!” and “We are France!”

The man was taken into custody Tuesday evening after a police inquiry was opened into a suspected public insult based on origin, ethnicity, nation, race or religion.

The government last week reported a rise in incidents of anti-Semitism last year: 541 registered incidents, up 74 percent from the 311 registered in 2017.

In other incidents this month, swastika graffiti was found on street portraits of Simone Veil, a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017, the word “Juden” was painted on the window of a bagel restaurant in Paris and two trees planted at a memorial honoring a young Jewish man tortured to death in 2006 were vandalized.

“That’s our failure,” Macron said. “The time has come to act.”

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

In US, Pope’s Summit on Sex Abuse Seen as Too Little, Too Late

In the study of his home outside Washington, former priest Tom Doyle searched a shelf packed with books to find the thick report that led him to walk away from the priesthood and become an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by clergymen.

The 1985 report was one of the first exposes in a sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has called senior bishops to meet for four days starting Thursday to discuss how to tackle the worsening crisis.

Doyle, who lost his job soon after the report was made public and eventually decided to leave the priesthood, is deeply skeptical that anything of substance will come of this week’s meeting.

“They’re going to pray and they’re going to meditate. But it’s totally useless,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to have something like this in 2019. These men should know right out of the gate that if you have a priest who’s raping children, you don’t allow them to continue.”

The meeting comes after a year in which fresh revelations about abuse of children and cover-up has shaken the church globally and tested the pope’s authority. Predatory priests were often moved from parish to parish rather than expelled or criminally prosecuted as bishops covered up the abuse.

Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, 67, a professor at Catholic University, said that U.S. bishops have already taken decisive steps to keep children from being abused. In 2002, after decades of abuse in the Boston area became public, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) passed a charter including requirements to report allegations of abuse of minors to police and to remove abusive priests or deacons after a single offense.

“The bishops of the United States are following zero tolerance,” said Rossetti, who helped draft the charter. “If you molested a minor at any time in your life, you’re not going to be a priest in this country. Period.”

Rossetti said the pope and the bishops should use the Vatican meeting to push for similar reforms in other countries where the problem of abuse is still coming to light.

But the U.S. policy “still left the bishops off the hook,” said David Lorenz, a director at Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. He called the pope’s summit “a publicity stunt.”

Recalling how he was abused at age 16 by a priest at an all-boys high school in Kentucky, Lorenz said the church and bishops with secrets of their own will continue to cover up abuse.

“It’s the secrecy. It’s the silence. It’s because I was silent for so long,” Lorenz, now 60, said, welling up. “They rely on that.”

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

In US, Pope’s Summit on Sex Abuse Seen as Too Little, Too Late

In the study of his home outside Washington, former priest Tom Doyle searched a shelf packed with books to find the thick report that led him to walk away from the priesthood and become an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by clergymen.

The 1985 report was one of the first exposes in a sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has called senior bishops to meet for four days starting Thursday to discuss how to tackle the worsening crisis.

Doyle, who lost his job soon after the report was made public and eventually decided to leave the priesthood, is deeply skeptical that anything of substance will come of this week’s meeting.

“They’re going to pray and they’re going to meditate. But it’s totally useless,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to have something like this in 2019. These men should know right out of the gate that if you have a priest who’s raping children, you don’t allow them to continue.”

The meeting comes after a year in which fresh revelations about abuse of children and cover-up has shaken the church globally and tested the pope’s authority. Predatory priests were often moved from parish to parish rather than expelled or criminally prosecuted as bishops covered up the abuse.

Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, 67, a professor at Catholic University, said that U.S. bishops have already taken decisive steps to keep children from being abused. In 2002, after decades of abuse in the Boston area became public, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) passed a charter including requirements to report allegations of abuse of minors to police and to remove abusive priests or deacons after a single offense.

“The bishops of the United States are following zero tolerance,” said Rossetti, who helped draft the charter. “If you molested a minor at any time in your life, you’re not going to be a priest in this country. Period.”

Rossetti said the pope and the bishops should use the Vatican meeting to push for similar reforms in other countries where the problem of abuse is still coming to light.

But the U.S. policy “still left the bishops off the hook,” said David Lorenz, a director at Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. He called the pope’s summit “a publicity stunt.”

Recalling how he was abused at age 16 by a priest at an all-boys high school in Kentucky, Lorenz said the church and bishops with secrets of their own will continue to cover up abuse.

“It’s the secrecy. It’s the silence. It’s because I was silent for so long,” Lorenz, now 60, said, welling up. “They rely on that.”

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Priest’s Son Demands Vatican Attention for Clergy’s Children 

The head organizer of the Vatican’s sex abuse summit has met with an Irish activist who is seeking to draw attention to another issue the Vatican has long sought to keep quiet: the plight of children of priests. 

 

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, for years the Vatican’s sex crimes investigator, met Tuesday with Vincent Doyle, the child of a priest. Through his advocacy and self-help group Coping International, Doyle has sought to compel Catholic leaders to acknowledge the issue of priests’ children and the psychological and emotional impact the church’s enforced secrecy has on them and their mothers. 

 

In a statement, Scicluna said the issue needed to be addressed and the children of priests acknowledged.  

“Each case should be tackled and handled on its own merits,” said the statement Scicluna gave Doyle, who shared it Wednesday with The Associated Press. “The interest of the child should be paramount.”  

Staying in priesthood

  

Notably, the statement did not say the priest should leave the priesthood to take care of his child as a layman — the common default response by church superiors. 

 

This week the Vatican acknowledged publicly to The New York Times that it has internal guidelines on how to handle such cases. 

 

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti confirmed that the guidelines’ fundamental principle is looking out for the best interests of the child. As such, he said, the guidelines “ordinarily ask for the priest to present his request to be dispensed from the obligations of the clerical state, and as a lay person, assume his responsibilities as a father, dedicating himself exclusively to his child.” 

 

Doyle is pressing for that default position to change, arguing that it often is not in the best interests of the child for his father to be fired. 

 

Doyle also notes that these children are born under a wide range of circumstances, with some the result of sexual abuse by priests against girls and women. 

 

In an interview Wednesday, Doyle said he met this week with the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, and walked into the Congregation for Clergy and secured a meeting with the department undersecretary, Monsignor Andrea Ripa. 

 

Doyle said all agreed on the need for case-by-case approach to the issue of priest’s children. The Irish Catholic Church hierarchy has taken the lead on addressing the issue with a child-focused set of guidelines published in 2017. 

 

“This is important, as it eliminates the default expectations that he [the priest] has to leave,” Doyle said. He said he was heartened by all his meetings and that the Catholic officials were compassionate and understood the pain he conveyed to them. 

Newspaper series

 

Doyle has been campaigning to help eliminate the stigma children of priests often face, and educate the church about the problems they can suffer as a result of the secrecy imposed on them and the absentee fathers they may never know. Those problems, which can include depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, were the subject of a 2017 series in The Boston Globe. 

 

There are no figures about the number of children fathered by Catholic priests. But there are about 450,000 Catholic priests in the world and the Catholic Church forbids artificial contraception and abortion. While eastern rite Catholic priests can be married before ordination, Roman Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy. 

 

Scicluna is one of four key organizers of Pope Francis’ clergy sex abuse summit, which opens Thursday but is not expected to address the issue of priests’ children. 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Priest’s Son Demands Vatican Attention for Clergy’s Children 

The head organizer of the Vatican’s sex abuse summit has met with an Irish activist who is seeking to draw attention to another issue the Vatican has long sought to keep quiet: the plight of children of priests. 

 

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, for years the Vatican’s sex crimes investigator, met Tuesday with Vincent Doyle, the child of a priest. Through his advocacy and self-help group Coping International, Doyle has sought to compel Catholic leaders to acknowledge the issue of priests’ children and the psychological and emotional impact the church’s enforced secrecy has on them and their mothers. 

 

In a statement, Scicluna said the issue needed to be addressed and the children of priests acknowledged.  

“Each case should be tackled and handled on its own merits,” said the statement Scicluna gave Doyle, who shared it Wednesday with The Associated Press. “The interest of the child should be paramount.”  

Staying in priesthood

  

Notably, the statement did not say the priest should leave the priesthood to take care of his child as a layman — the common default response by church superiors. 

 

This week the Vatican acknowledged publicly to The New York Times that it has internal guidelines on how to handle such cases. 

 

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti confirmed that the guidelines’ fundamental principle is looking out for the best interests of the child. As such, he said, the guidelines “ordinarily ask for the priest to present his request to be dispensed from the obligations of the clerical state, and as a lay person, assume his responsibilities as a father, dedicating himself exclusively to his child.” 

 

Doyle is pressing for that default position to change, arguing that it often is not in the best interests of the child for his father to be fired. 

 

Doyle also notes that these children are born under a wide range of circumstances, with some the result of sexual abuse by priests against girls and women. 

 

In an interview Wednesday, Doyle said he met this week with the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, and walked into the Congregation for Clergy and secured a meeting with the department undersecretary, Monsignor Andrea Ripa. 

 

Doyle said all agreed on the need for case-by-case approach to the issue of priest’s children. The Irish Catholic Church hierarchy has taken the lead on addressing the issue with a child-focused set of guidelines published in 2017. 

 

“This is important, as it eliminates the default expectations that he [the priest] has to leave,” Doyle said. He said he was heartened by all his meetings and that the Catholic officials were compassionate and understood the pain he conveyed to them. 

Newspaper series

 

Doyle has been campaigning to help eliminate the stigma children of priests often face, and educate the church about the problems they can suffer as a result of the secrecy imposed on them and the absentee fathers they may never know. Those problems, which can include depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, were the subject of a 2017 series in The Boston Globe. 

 

There are no figures about the number of children fathered by Catholic priests. But there are about 450,000 Catholic priests in the world and the Catholic Church forbids artificial contraception and abortion. While eastern rite Catholic priests can be married before ordination, Roman Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy. 

 

Scicluna is one of four key organizers of Pope Francis’ clergy sex abuse summit, which opens Thursday but is not expected to address the issue of priests’ children. 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

May Heads to Brussels Again, Seeks Brexit Movement

British Prime Minister Theresa May makes another trip to Brussels on Wednesday, hoping European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker may prove more yielding than of late to salvage her Brexit deal.

With Britain set to jolt out of the world’s biggest trading bloc in 37 days unless May can either persuade the British parliament or the European Union to budge, officials were cautious on the chances of a breakthrough.

The key sticking point is the so-called backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return of extensive checks on the sensitive border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

May agreed on the protocol with EU leaders in November but then saw it roundly rejected last month by U.K. lawmakers who said the government’s legal advice that it could tie Britain to EU rules indefinitely made the backstop unacceptable.

She has promised parliament to rework the treaty to try to put a time limit on the protocol or give Britain some other way of getting out of an arrangement which her critics say would leave the country “trapped” by the EU.

A spokesman for May called the Brussels trip “significant” as part of a process of engagement to try to agree on the changes her government says parliament needs to pass the deal.

But an aide for Juncker quoted the Commission president as saying on Tuesday evening: “I have great respect for Theresa May for her courage and her assertiveness. We will have friendly talk tomorrow but I don’t expect a breakthrough.”

EU sources aired frustration with Britain’s stance on Brexit, saying Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay brought no new proposals to the table when he was last in Brussels on Monday for talks with the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

On Tuesday, the EU responded to U.K. demands again: “The EU 27 will not reopen the withdrawal agreement; we cannot accept a time limit to the backstop or a unilateral exit clause,” said Margaritis Schinas, a spokesman for Juncker. “We are listening and working with the UK government … for an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU on March 29.”

May’s spokesman again said it was the prime minister’s intention to persuade the EU to reopen the divorce deal.

“There is a process of engagement going on. Tomorrow is obviously a significant meeting between the prime minister and President Juncker as part of that process,” he said.

Legal advice

Barclay and Britain’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox are also due back in Brussels midweek and want to discuss “legal text” with Barnier that would give Britain enough assurances over the backstop, British sources said.

It is Cox’s advice that the backstop as it stands is indefinite, which May is  trying to see changed by obtaining new legally binding EU commitments.

May needs to convince eurosceptics in her Conservative Party that the backstop will not keep Britain indefinitely tied to the EU, but also that she is still considering a compromise idea agreed between Brexit supporters and pro-EU lawmakers.

May’s spokesman said the Commission had engaged with the ideas put forward in the so-called “Malthouse Compromise” but raised concerns about “their viability to resolve the backstop.”

The EU says the alternative technological arrangements it proposes to replace the backstop do not exist for now and so cannot be a guarantee that no border controls would return to Ireland.

Barnier told Barclay the EU could hence not agree to this proposal as it would mean not applying the bloc’s law on its own border.

Eurosceptic lawmakers said Malthouse was “alive and kicking” after meeting May on Tuesday.

May has until Feb. 27 to secure EU concessions on the backstop or face another series of Brexit votes in the House of Commons, where lawmakers want changes to the withdrawal deal.

EU and U.K. sources said London could accept other guarantees on the backstop and the bloc is proposing turning the assurances and clarifications it has already given Britain on the issue in December and January into legally binding documents.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

May Heads to Brussels Again, Seeks Brexit Movement

British Prime Minister Theresa May makes another trip to Brussels on Wednesday, hoping European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker may prove more yielding than of late to salvage her Brexit deal.

With Britain set to jolt out of the world’s biggest trading bloc in 37 days unless May can either persuade the British parliament or the European Union to budge, officials were cautious on the chances of a breakthrough.

The key sticking point is the so-called backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return of extensive checks on the sensitive border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

May agreed on the protocol with EU leaders in November but then saw it roundly rejected last month by U.K. lawmakers who said the government’s legal advice that it could tie Britain to EU rules indefinitely made the backstop unacceptable.

She has promised parliament to rework the treaty to try to put a time limit on the protocol or give Britain some other way of getting out of an arrangement which her critics say would leave the country “trapped” by the EU.

A spokesman for May called the Brussels trip “significant” as part of a process of engagement to try to agree on the changes her government says parliament needs to pass the deal.

But an aide for Juncker quoted the Commission president as saying on Tuesday evening: “I have great respect for Theresa May for her courage and her assertiveness. We will have friendly talk tomorrow but I don’t expect a breakthrough.”

EU sources aired frustration with Britain’s stance on Brexit, saying Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay brought no new proposals to the table when he was last in Brussels on Monday for talks with the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

On Tuesday, the EU responded to U.K. demands again: “The EU 27 will not reopen the withdrawal agreement; we cannot accept a time limit to the backstop or a unilateral exit clause,” said Margaritis Schinas, a spokesman for Juncker. “We are listening and working with the UK government … for an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU on March 29.”

May’s spokesman again said it was the prime minister’s intention to persuade the EU to reopen the divorce deal.

“There is a process of engagement going on. Tomorrow is obviously a significant meeting between the prime minister and President Juncker as part of that process,” he said.

Legal advice

Barclay and Britain’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox are also due back in Brussels midweek and want to discuss “legal text” with Barnier that would give Britain enough assurances over the backstop, British sources said.

It is Cox’s advice that the backstop as it stands is indefinite, which May is  trying to see changed by obtaining new legally binding EU commitments.

May needs to convince eurosceptics in her Conservative Party that the backstop will not keep Britain indefinitely tied to the EU, but also that she is still considering a compromise idea agreed between Brexit supporters and pro-EU lawmakers.

May’s spokesman said the Commission had engaged with the ideas put forward in the so-called “Malthouse Compromise” but raised concerns about “their viability to resolve the backstop.”

The EU says the alternative technological arrangements it proposes to replace the backstop do not exist for now and so cannot be a guarantee that no border controls would return to Ireland.

Barnier told Barclay the EU could hence not agree to this proposal as it would mean not applying the bloc’s law on its own border.

Eurosceptic lawmakers said Malthouse was “alive and kicking” after meeting May on Tuesday.

May has until Feb. 27 to secure EU concessions on the backstop or face another series of Brexit votes in the House of Commons, where lawmakers want changes to the withdrawal deal.

EU and U.K. sources said London could accept other guarantees on the backstop and the bloc is proposing turning the assurances and clarifications it has already given Britain on the issue in December and January into legally binding documents.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.